Pieter Steinz

Pieter Steinz (1963-2016) was literary critic and editor of the major Dutch daily paper NRC Handelsblad for more than twenty years, and from 2012 directed the Dutch Foundation for Literature, until the effects of ALS made him pull back. He wrote some fifteen books, among them the critically lauded bestsellers, Reading Etcetera, Made in Europe, Guide for World Literature (co- authored with his daughter Jet) and Madness in World Literature.

The Reading of Life

The Reading of Life

Literature at Times of Life and Death

(Nieuw Amsterdam, 2015, 228 pages)

What do you do when your doctor passes sentence of death? Live out the cliché of finally doing what you’ve always longed for: travelling somewhere exotic, opening that precious bottle of wine? Or - what if, like Pieter Steinz, you’re already doing what you love? In his case, it was reading books, and writing about what he read.
So what then? You carry on. Steinz could do no other. So came into being the series of columns about Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Motor Neurone Disease, MND), that he called his ‘lifeline to the outside world.’ Steinz wrote on his experiences as a patient and his feelings in the face of death, referring to books - both new ones and old…

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